SeaStart engine course

seastart1No, that’s not Lucy’s engine, it belongs to Sea Start Ltd, and lives in the classroom where I went on Tuesday for my RYA Diesel Engine course. It’s a Volvo of some sort, but since most diesel marine engines are very similar it works well as a demonstration tool.

I travelled south on Monday night and crashed out on the sofa of a friend in Southampton. I was up and out by 06:15 the following morning for a dash over to Sanders Sails in Lymington, to order the new jib and staysail. Then it really was a dash back through Southampton’s rush hour traffic to Hamble Point, and to Sea Start. The training was just about to commence as I arrived.

There were three ‘candidates’ and one instructor, and he was a very good instructor indeed. I’ll admit to having had little to no idea about engines of any kind, but it started with a very simple explanation of how diesels work; suck, squeeze, bang, push, suck, squeeze, bang, push, suck, squeeze, bang, push, suck, squeeze, bang, suck, push, squeeze, bang, push, etc, etc. Well, that’s the four strokes of a four stroke anyway.

We leant about the main systems, the key one being fuel. If there’s no clean fuel going to it, it won’t work, so we were taught how to troubleshoot our way through valves, pre-filters, filters, fuel tanks, return feeds and ‘diesel bug’. This can occur when water lies in the bottom of a tank which has contaminated fuel in it. The ‘bug’ thrives in that area where the diesel and water meet, and it’s a bugger. It can clog up the fuel supply and cause engine malfunction just when you don’t need it. The best plan is to avoid getting it, so we learnt how to minimise water in the tank, drain it off, change filters, bleed the system, etc. All good stuff, and very useful to know.

We went through the cooling systems, both fresh water and sea water. Lucy has both; her Beta has fresh water circulating and cooling the engine, but this is kept cool by a heat exchanger which has sea water running through it. We learned about seacocks where this sea water is sucked in by the pump and where it exits the boat mixed in with the exhaust. We practiced changing the sea water pump impellor, which needs doing annually, and sometimes in an emergency.

We looked at electrics and batteries too, and a lot of other interesting stuff like what tools and spares to keep on the boat. I really enjoyed the course, and the instructor was incredibly knowledgable. I muse have looked as though I understood the course because he gave me a certificate at the end.


4 thoughts on “SeaStart engine course

  1. Good choice of boat, I think we looked at Lucy when we were looking for a CY , it would have been back in 2007 she was in Fowey but offered via Ancasta in Mylor, If it was the same boat (can’t remember her name) she just had the bilge plates and regular keel. We really liked the interior space compared to the C/b versions.

    Bit of a long story we got diverted by a Morgan 38 but the survey threw up some unexpected water in the cored topsides (well above the waterline and caused by a mod to the anchor well)

    Having spent several days in Falmouth, money on the survey we were really fed up and went for a walk at Gweek, Greta CY no 1 had just gone on the market, I bought her on the spot a C/b version and proved to be a really good boat.

    Beware rot in the mast, Crabbers clearlydidn’t give much though to rot and water ingress when they drilled that horizontal hole at the shrouds, very common place for rot.

    • Thanks Max. I’ve got a chance to do something about the mast through hole, as the mast is pretty new, just a few years old. I’m going to remove the spreader and mast band in a couple of weeks and get some preventative maintenance done – then stuff with mastic or suchlike.

      I hope you don’t mind, but I’m using a picture from your blog of Greta in the yard on the barrels. I want to match the font and style for Lucy’s stern.

      • Russell,

        no problem Greta was the prototype Roger’s own boat, it got finished just in time for the Earls court boat show in the 80’s (8& I think can’t really remember) – they clearly changed a few things on production boats.

        re the mast i had to dug out a big piece of rot and fit a graving piece, then I made an epoxy glass tube ran it right through he mast and epoxied it in place, the steel spreader ran through a tube so no chance of water ingress to the mast – Can’t say it was the prefect fix but everything was dry as a bone when I sold her

        Drop me an email if I can be of help (details on Bursledon Blog)

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